Aberdeen woman gets 6 months in jail 46-year-old eligible for work-release


A 46-year-old Aberdeen woman who fired about 12 shots with a .22-caliber rifle and held police at bay for almost 8 1/2 hours in February was sentenced to three years in prison with 30 months suspended.

The sentence was imposed by Judge William O. Carr after Mary Ann Garrison pleaded guilty to reduced charges Wednesday in Harford Circuit Court. Judge Carr made the unemployed Garrison eligible for work-release.

He delayed her reporting to the county Detention Center until Nov. 12, allowing her time to find a job and apply for work-release.

After serving her sentence, Garrison must be on supervised parole and probation for two years, remain alcohol- and drug-free and, if she is living in Harford County, go to Open Doors, a Bel Air nonprofit career counseling center for women.

Garrison had been working as a nursing home aide when she was arrested. According to the statement of facts read in court, no one was struck by the bullets during the Feb. 25 incident.

Garrison was living in the first block of Defense Drive at the home of Edward Sawyers, a paraplegic boyfriend, in the community of Swan Meadows.

During a domestic dispute with Mr. Sawyers about 4:30 a.m., Garrison, who had been drinking heavily, fired shots that went through the duplex wall into the bedroom of an adjoining unit.

When police arrived, several more shots were fired at them through the wall. Officers retreated and immediately began evacuating about 175 residents from nearby homes, some of whom fled during the hours before dawn in their nightgowns and pajamas.

Police trained in hostage negotiations established telephone contact with Garrison and, after about four hours, she allowed Mr. Sawyers to leave.

Suffering chest pains, Mr. Sawyers was taken to Harford Memorial Hospital and admitted.

Meanwhile, Garrison fired several more shots periodically until about 10:30 a.m.

The incident ended at 12:45 p.m. when police stormed the house and captured Garrison.

She was taken to Fallston General Hospital for psychiatric evaluation, released and charged with assault and false imprisonment.

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